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The Truth Series: Her Eyes, Part 2

Fast forward 12 years… Continue the trauma: undiagnosed and unrecognized. “There is tremendous trauma in the betrayal caused by a perpetual liar as they repeatedly commit psychological abuse.” Cathy Burnham Martin PART 2 (If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.) (****Trigger warning- 1 reference to masturbation in 2018) 2018- Seared into her brain was a zoomed-in body of a naked woman on a large computer screen with her husband in front of the screen pleasuring himself. Some things you can’t unsee. Some things hijack your brain. Some things cause permanent damage. This was one of those things. Trauma: undiagnosed and RECOGNIZED. She hunted for a C-SAT- Certified Sex Addiction Therapist – knowing they needed specialized help because he could not stop using pornography. He was diagnosed as a sex addict, and they embarked on what they believed was the therapeutic path to healing with their C-SAT. But as time progressed, Carrie just couldn’t make her mind heal. 2019- The deceit was too much for Carrie. Her brain continued to function in overdrive. To compensate for the endless ruminating, she began hoarding, hoping to reduce the pain. But, her brain was still internally bleeding into her heart. When she recognized her imploding fragility, she put her suicidal self into a mental hospital assuming they would know how to heal her trauma. She spent her first 2 days sobbing in bed, in her windowless room, hoping for compassion, but the input she received from the staff and her husband was that she was “uncooperative.” A wee voice inside her heart, that survival instinct, held her together. Intuitively, she leaned into meditation to settle her soul and began smoking so she could just go outside for “fresh air.” Finally, after 10 days, her insurance coverage ended, and she was discharged. ***But wait- here is the twist. At the exact same time she was leaving, her husband and the C-SAT submitted a letter to the hospital recommending long term hospitalization. Her husband picked her up from the hospital knowing several days earlier he had submitted a request to keep her institutionalized. And said nothing. Imagine the level of deceit and manipulation that secret took… Carrie spent the next year trying to accomplish the goals the C-SAT and her husband set. Forgive, go to groups, be in recovery with him, apologize to him for her outbursts. The hoarding increased; her weight increased but the pain would not decrease. 2021 She found the letter in his emails. A white explosion occurred in her mind. It might be described as rage but it was intertwined with a myriad of sensations from betrayed, crushed, destroyed, broken, battered, exhausted, and sad. So, so sad. The letter, written in 2019, from the therapist, their C-SAT, was that letter sent to the hospital from which she voluntarily sought refuge. It indicated she needed to be retained for an “involuntary” stay due to her inability to emotionally regulate herself. She was not aware this letter existed. Carrie walked toward her husband that discovery day (D-day, again) but in her mind, she crawled, muscles slack and unable to support her fragile skeleton. She asked him about the letter. And to her horror, he admitted he and the therapist had been “scheming” for months to have her admitted to the hospital- instead of focusing on his recovery. And, on top of the vicious letter, 15 years after she was married, she discovered yet again her husband was not sober. He also admitted he was still betraying her with his extensive pornography use. She shifted with this news. First, she felt her fingers clench, then her teeth snapped shut, followed by muscles in her body becoming rigid as they surrounded her collapsing skeleton. Raw fury erupted from her, and that fury pushed her to finally resolve: THIS IS NOT MY FAULT. She concluded that the addiction was not going to rule her world anymore. Trauma: SELF Diagnosed and Recognized. She found APSATS (The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists) and began to seek healing from the trauma. She found support groups that properly recognize women as they heal through the PTSD caused by betrayal trauma (Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means). She used the vicious fury vibrating in her core to motivate her to seek a space that would honor her own healing. She turned from him and sent herself to a location of peaceful solace for a week. She had no communication with the outside world. None. Carrie took that week to grieve what she lost: the years, days, hours, the opportunity to have children, holidays meant for joy, her dreams. Trauma: The power of healing with a proper diagnosis. She returned from her solitude different. The anger was still present, but it was manageable. Laughter began to bubbled up again and she learned how to created proper boundaries with appropriate consequences. A feeling of safety gently surrounded her. She saw her husband differently. She understood how broken he was and that he still wanted to heal. He had done everything he could to keep his addiction hidden and to hold on to it, including nearly destroying his wife. Now she understood the true power of pornography (FighttheNewDrug). Today’s update: She is still married, and they are working as a couple to have a therapeutic disclosure (in the problematic sexual behavior world, we include a polygraph along with his disclosure of his history) so she can make an informed decision about her future in the marriage. Her eyes are open and clear now. To heal is to touch with love that which we previously touched with fear”. Stephen Levine

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